One of the most common questions we're asked about crowdsourcing concerns the intellectual property rights of the work that the Topcoder Community completes for you—and how Topcoder ensures those rights. This is important with respect to the transfer of rights and the use of the client’s initial body of work.
The section below the video summarizes the ways Topcoder handles intellectual property. For complete details, please refer to the Topcoder Terms and Conditions of Use.
Please note that nothing in this document constitutes legal advice. You should always seek the advice of counsel if you have questions.
Ownership of Intellectual Property
For the purposes of this article, the term “Developer” refers to Topcoder Community data scientists, developers, and designers collectively given the fact that the term is used in our relevant legal documents.
Key intellectual property principles that pertain to crowdsourcing are:
1. All rights, including moral rights, title, and interest to work product developed in the course of competitions and delivered to a client, known as client software, shall become the property of the client, subject to payment in full of all fees.
2. Neither Topcoder or Topcoder Community members participating in the crowdsourcing contest acquires any intellectual property or any rights that belong to the client. All intellectual property rights belong to the client.
3. To the extent not already owned by Topcoder, the Developer assigns, grants, transfers, and sets over to Topcoder all right, title, and interest throughout the world any and all Intellectual Property Rights, in development completed during contests. Please note that Topcoder subsequently transfers that intellectual property to the client for code that is purchased as a solution.
4. Nothing shall be construed as granting a Developer any right or license under any intellectual property right of Topcoder or the client by implication or otherwise.
5. The Developer’s submission does not include any content that violates third-party intellectual property rights.
6. The Developer’s submissions is free and clear of all liens, claims, encumbrances or demands by any third parties.
7. The Developer’s submissions have not been entered in previous contests, or won previous awards.
8. The Developer’s submission has not been published or distributed previously in any media.
Your intellectual property rights are governed not only for the protection of your own property, but also for the macro concerns that fuel these very rights. Questions about your intellectual property are never idle. The commonly stated objective of intellectual property is to promote progress. Proponents of IP rights argue that if such rights encourage innovation, then the more, the better. They reason that creators will have insufficient incentive to invest unless they are legally entitled to capture the full value of their innovation.
In 2013, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office estimated that the worth of IP in the U.S. economy to be more than $5 trillion. Your intellectual property rights are much more specific than the economy writ large. With Topcoder, you are able to protect them contractually in a manner that can be enforced with a world-class global innovation partner.